Get In The Game: Pre-Game Prep
Series: Get In The Game
All of our past, both the joyful parts and the challenging parts, make us who we are. The valleys are where we "taste and see that the Lord is good". That's where we feel His presence and are reminded that "He never leaves us or forsakes us." If you are a follower of Jesus, you have a vital place in the body of Christ.
We see a very vivid example of this truth in the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). Joseph is the 11th son of Jacob, the firstborn of Rachel, and his father's favorite son. We enter Joseph's story when he is 17 and has a beautiful coat from his father. His brothers hated him, and ultimately wanted to kill him.
In Chapter 37:23, the brothers stripped Joseph of his robe, which was a symbol of their hatred. They threw him in a pit and ultimately sold him to Egypt. They tore up his robe, put blood on it, and told Israel that he had been killed. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph to Potipher in Egypt. This is the beginning of the suffering of Joseph.
We see that the LORD was with Joseph (mentioned 4 times (Ch 39:2,3,21,23). Joseph found favor at every turn. He was falsely accused by Potipher's wife and thrown into prison. While in prison, he found favor with the guard. In Chapter 41, we see that Joseph found favor with Pharoah. Although still a slave to Pharoah, Joseph was the second most powerful person in all of Egypt. Joseph is now 30 years old, and over the last 13 years, he was:
- thrown in a pit
- sold as a slave to the Midianites (1st example of human trafficking)
- sold to Potipher in Egypt
- accused of rape
- thrown in prison as an innocent man
It would have been easy, and almost expected, for Joseph to hate his brothers for the circumstances of his life, but that is not how Joseph responded. We see in Gen 45:3 that the very first question Joseph asks is, "Is dad alive"? All the pain and brokenness brought a better heart and circumstances. Joseph said to his brothers, "God sent me before you to preserve life", and verse 8, "So it was not you who sent me here, but God."
Joseph had the classic opportunity to get even with his brothers and ruin them forever, but he refused. Instead, he blessed, protected, and forgave them. God gave favor to Joseph through all these circumstances, and because of his faithfulness, Joseph was able to ensure protection for the people of Israel and set the stage for Moses!
God WILL use the hard places of your past for His glory. God's favor does not always mean prosperity; in fact, the people who are most effective have the biggest "limp".
Questions to process:
- What are some of the hard pieces of your life story?
- When have you felt useless, abandoned, or overlooked by God?
- How has God used your past hurt to shape who you are today?
Remember, for many people, their greatest hurt becomes their biggest passion for others. Ask God to show you how your past has positioned you to be uniquely effective for the Kingdom moving forward.